Williamson returns with new Nikes

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Just about everything at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament on Thursday night was about Zion Williamson.

The Duke freshman's nearly flawless performance returning from injury had the college basketball world buzzing.

His athleticism, energy, engaging smile and thunderous dunks were all on full display.

And oh yes, so were his modified size-15 Nikes from Boston Celtics All-Star Kyrie Irving's signature line.

"I couldn't really tell you specifically if I wanted to," Williamson said of the shoe modifications. "I just know they're a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4s, so I'd like to thank Nike for making these. But yeah, they felt very comfortable."

And Williamson looked comfortable in them on Thursday night, repeatedly making highlight-reel plays in an 84-72 win against Syracuse. He had an impressive return after missing nearly six full games, going for 29 points on 13-for-13 shooting - the best shooting performance without a miss in the tournament's 66-year history - with 14 rebounds and five steals in more than 35 minutes of work.

It was a much different look than the last time anyone saw him play in game. Nearly three weeks earlier, he went down in a near split, his right knee sprained and his left foot sticking out the side of what was left of his sneaker. He limped to the sideline carrying the destroyed shoe in his left hand during the opening minute of a Feb. 20 loss to rival North Carolina.

That game, Williamson was wearing the Nike PG 2.5, Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George's signature shoe. He had worn them frequently without an issue before the oft-replayed incident that even dealt a day-after hit to Nike's stock price.

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